Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian has inspected military fortifications along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan that were beefed up following a series of deadly skirmishes last year.
According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, Ohanian visited on Tuesday and Wednesday army units stationed in the country’s “southeastern border zone,” an apparent reference to a mountainous area bordering Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave and Iran.
A ministry statement said he toured army posts on the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontier to check “the reliability of defense fortifications” and the morale and skills of soldiers serving there. Photographs attached to it showed a uniform-clad Ohanian looking at nearby Azerbaijani army positions through binoculars.
The statement added that the retired Karabakh-born general, who participated in the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan, also inspected newly built military facilities and further construction work going on in the area. Ohanian was reported to also speak of “positive trends in the army.” Armenian soldiers now serve in much better conditions, he said.
The Armenian army further fortified its positions along the heavily militarized border last year following deadly ceasefire violations at its most volatile section: the area between Armenia’s northern Tavush province and districts in western Azerbaijan. An upsurge in fighting there coincided with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s June 2012 visit to the South Caucasus. Clinton expressed serious concern over those incidents, warning of potential “disastrous consequences” of escalating violence in the Karabakh conflict zone.
Ohanian travelled to Tavush in August 2012 to familiarize himself with what his press office described as “large-scale construction work” carried out on the Armenian army’s frontline positions there.
The border section visited by the minister this week has seen few skirmishes over the past decade.